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NCJ Number: 197621 Find in a Library
Title: Adjudicated Adolescent Girls and Their Mothers: Examining Relationship Quality and Communication Styles
Journal: Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling  Volume:23  Issue:1  Dated:October 2002  Pages:15-29
Author(s): Sondra L. Smith; Jennifer L. Kerpelman
Date Published: October 2002
Page Count: 15
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the perceptions of adjudicated adolescent girls and their mothers regarding their relationship and communication style.
Abstract: It is suggested that the link between family functioning and delinquency, particularly for girls, is more complex than previously thought. The purpose of this study was to focus on relationship process variables, such as relationship quality and supportive and defensive communication, in a population of mothers and their adjudicated daughters. Twenty-five mother-daughter pairs participated in the study. The five open-ended questions included perceived closeness, communication, time together, problem solving, and mother’s knowledge of daughter’s friends. A card sort task examined observable aspects of the mother-daughter relationship. Results show that, whether or not they described their relationships positively, mothers and daughters expressed the need to be respected, listened to, understood, and validated by each other. Most mothers and daughters were generally satisfied with their level of relationship closeness and ability to say what they wanted to each other. There was agreement between mothers and daughters that their time and activities together were often limited and lacking in one-to-one interaction opportunities. They most often mentioned watching television, working in the kitchen, and shopping as activities that they did together. These findings indicate an overall closeness in the mother-daughter relationships in this population that was inconsistent with earlier research that suggested that daughters that were adjudicated lacked emotional attachments and were alienated from their mothers. Reported problems in problem solving, communication, mutual respect, and conflict management were the most striking of the relationship themes that emerged. These findings are consistent with earlier studies that reported high levels of conflict, patterns of poor communication, and adolescent domination over mothers in families of delinquent youth. For both mothers and daughters, the daughter was the focus of blame when describing problems in their relationship. Mothers consistently reported that they would like to know more about their daughters’ friends. In general, mothers and daughters communicated in a supportive manner. It is recommended that court intervention with adjudicated girls and their mothers not focus only on the daughter’s behavior, but also on the mother-daughter relationship. 3 tables, 47 references
Main Term(s): Female juvenile delinquents; Parent-Child Relations
Index Term(s): Adolescent females; Domestic relations; Female status offenders; Females; Home environment; Juveniles
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